Poem, in one way, I would say that it is the most free and easy form of literature; however, in another, it seems the most complex. With this two extreme characteristics, we are able to feel the power of "words" and be touched in the depth of soul.
Somehow, for me, there are two obstacles when I try to approach these English poems. First, since I am a foreigner to English, it takes time to understand the context before reaching the inside of the poem. And to reach the inside of the poem, the culture gap stand between is always a difficulty to conquer.
Here, to start with "family relationship", which is common experience to us, can be a easier beginning. To me, moreover, when I read about "Peking", "Kueg-Ming Lake" and waterlilies, it was a sudden amazement just like meeting an old friend in a foreign country!
In the first stanza of "I Ask My Mother to Sing", what I get is simply a picture of a happy family singing together. And as I reading on, how peaceful and beautiful it is to imagine people picnicking on the grass and waterlilies rocking in the rain. However, before knowing the family background, I would not believe that each fill of the rain drops on the waterlilies represents the cry for help of the family and every overturning of the waterlilies refers to the struggle for living of the family.
The turbulence behind this peaceful picture forms a very striking contrast, and from which I can see the helplessness of the family and how despair they are in looking for a real settle down, especially in the last stanza.
Both women have begun to cry.
But neither stops her songs
In the last stanza, there are only two lines and in a rather peaceful way, Lee talks about both women were crying; there we see no long sigh, no complaint, no panic, and no upset, but only peaceful songs. However it bears most of the inside world of the family.